Vice chairman of UAE’s NMC Health quits as shareholder twists emerge

NMC is the largest health care provider in the UAE. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 16 February 2020

Vice chairman of UAE’s NMC Health quits as shareholder twists emerge

  • Resignation came after UK regulators announced that they were taking a closer look at the company

DUBAI: NMC Health is still trying to unravel details about the holdings of the company’s top investors, it said on Friday after announcing that one of its controlling shareholders had resigned from the board.

The largest private health care provider in the UAE is listed in London on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index but has come under increasing pressure after shareholder Muddy Waters raised questions over its finances, prompting major investors to sell out, sending its share price tumbling.

On Friday NMC said that vice chairman Khalifa Butti Omeir Bin Yousef is stepping down from the board. His resignation came after UK regulators this week said they were looking into the company after news that founder and chairman B.R. Shetty had inaccurately disclosed the size of his stake in the business.

NMC subsequently said on Friday that there had been a series of complex shareholder dealings involving Shetty, Bin Yousef and another top investor, Saeed Butti Al-Qebaisi.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

The company said Bin Yousef and Al-Qebaisi had notified them that some of their shares had been pledged as security for loans by Shetty in an arrangement they were not party to.

“The company continues urgently to seek clarity from Dr. B.R. Shetty, Khalifa Bin Butti and H.E. Saeed Bin Butti in relation to the above arrangements and their respective shareholdings,” NMC said.

The disclosure is likely to raise further questions about NMC’s governance and loans taken out by its top shareholders against their stock. Shetty on Monday said that he was stepping back from the board while a legal review of his shareholding disclosures continues.

Al-Qebaisi and Bin Yousef on Friday said that an estimated 26 million of the 58.5 million shares they hold have been pledged against loans.

Shares in NMC were down 3.8 percent in afternoon trade. The stock has slumped by 70 percent since Muddy Waters issued a report on Dec. 17 questioning the value of the company’s assets and reported cash balances.

NMC has denied Muddy Waters’ allegations and launched an independent review of its finances.

The company this week said it had received buyout interest from Italian-backed GKSD Investment Holding and United States-based KKR & Co. GKSD subsequently confirmed it could bid for the hospital operator but KKR has said it would not.


Saudi minister: OPEC+ will take responsible approach to virus

Updated 26 February 2020

Saudi minister: OPEC+ will take responsible approach to virus

  • Saudi Arabia supports the further oil production cut, but Russia is yet to announce its final position on the matter

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Tuesday he was confident that OPEC and its partner oil-producing nations, the so-called OPEC+ group, would respond responsibly to the spread of the coronavirus.

He also said Saudi Arabia and Russia would continue to engage regarding oil policy.

“Everything serious requires being attended to,” the minister, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, told reporters at an industry conference in Riyadh.

An OPEC+ committee this month recommended the group deepen its output cuts by an additional 600,000 barrels per day.

Saudi Arabia supports the further oil production cut, but Russia is yet to announce its final position on the matter.

The minister said he was still talking with Moscow and that he was confident of Riyadh’s partnership with the rest of the OPEC+ group.

“We did not run out of ideas, we have not closed our phones. There is always a good way of communicating through conference calls,” he said.

Regarding the coronavirus, which has impacted OPEC member Iran, he said OPEC+ members should not be complacent about the virus but added he was confident every OPEC+ member was a responsible and responsive producer.

The flu-like SARS-CoV-2 virus, which first broke out in China, has now spread to more than 20 countries.

“Of course there is an impact and we are assessing, but we’ll do whatever we can in our next meeting and we’ll address that issue,” UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said at the same industry conference.

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser on Monday said he expected a short-lived impact on oil demand.

“We think this is short term and I am confident that in the second half of the year there is going to be an improvement on the demand side, especially from China,” he said.

Oil climbed on Tuesday as investors sought bargains after crude benchmarks slumped almost 4 percent in the previous session, although concerns about the global spread of the virus capped gains.